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6                    HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP.
but at last his uncle brought him to Mecca, where he was
at first mistaken for a slave and called Abdul Muttalib,
or " The Slave of Muttalib," a sobriquet which stuck ^to
him through life. A family quarrel concerning property
was decided in his favour on the arrival of eighty of his
maternal relatives from Medina, and when Al-Muttalib
died he succeeded to his dignities. For some time his
influence was slight, as he had only one son; but one day
he was so fortunate as to rediscover the site of the sacred
well of Zemzem, which had existed, as we have seen,
in ancient times. The possession of this well at once
gave its owner immense power in thirsty Mecca, and with
the birth of other sons his prestige became as great as that
of his father. But he had made a rash vow that, if granted
ten sons, he would sacrifice one of them to the Fates.
When the number was reached lots were cast and fell on
Abdulla, the youngest. As the father was preparing to
fulfil his dreadful oath, he was persuaded to cast lots
between the boy and ten camels, which represented the
blood fine for a man's life* Nine times the lot fell upon
\the boy, but at the tenth throw it fell at last on the camels.
I.They were slaughtered to the number of one hundred
and given to the inhabitants of Mecca.
Abdulla, who was thus saved from death, upon reach-
ing the age of twenty-four, was married by his father to a
relative, Amina* by name. Directly after the marriage he
started on a trading expedition, to Syria, On his return
he died at Medina, and on the 2oth of August, A.D. 570,
his widow gave birth to a son, who was Mohamed* the
The Political Situation in Arabia before and after the
Birth of the Prophet.—Among the earliest foreign rela-
tions of the Kureish tribe which have been recorded is
a so-called treaty concluded by Hashim with the Ghas-
sanide prince, a Christianized Arab Shaykh, whose capital,
Bostra, lay to the east of the Jordan, Hashim is also
said to have received a rescript from the Emperor allow-
ing the Kureish to travel in Syria, Vut in all probability it
1 Amina is the feraiaine form of Amm^ signifying " trustworthy."   The name of the
Prophet is more correctly writ&ea Muhammad.   The word signifies "The Praised,'*